What You Need to Know and Do if You are in a Construction Accident
Construction sites can be some of the most hazardous workplaces today. Particularly in multi-floor buildings, there is a danger of suffering a personal injury after being struck by a falling object, falling from a height or a scaffold, or over-exerting yourself to the point of causing an injury or exhaustion.
If you do suffer a personal injury on a construction site, you may need to hire a lawyer to assist you with your claim to the Workers Safety Insurance Board (WSIB), particularly if your initial claim has been denied. In order to get best results, there are things you need to know about your employment and the work site, and things you need to do after your accident.
What you need to know about your work and the construction site includes:
- Who owns the site? This is important to understand, as the interaction between the owner of the work site and your employer can be important in determining liability.
- How much control does the property owner have over the construction site? If the property owner is actively interfering with the construction site or imposing limitations that make the site unsafe, this can make them liable for your injury due to negligence.
- How much control does your employer have over the construction site? As with the property owner, if your employer is contributing to making the site unsafe, or has been negligent in such a way that it contributed to your accident, this makes them liable.
- Are there sub-contractors brought in from different companies on the construction site, and are they contributing to the safety situation at the site? This is another important question – while you may be employed by one company, a sub-contractor may be employed by another, and may not be following the same safety rules and regulations that you are. If they or their company contributed to your accident, this makes them liable in part for your personal injury.
If you have been injured on a construction site, the things you need to do include:
- Seek immediate medical attention for your injury. As well, have your doctor document your diagnosis and treatment, and ensure that your additional medical and recovery expenses are documented as well.
- Report the accident and your injury to your supervisor, and ensure that you follow your employer’s Occupational Health and Safety guidelines and policies.
- Document the location and circumstances of your accident. This includes the state of the construction site, the type and condition of the safety equipment, etc. This can be particularly important, as the site will change over time – also, if your accident happened because of a manufacturing error in the safety equipment, the manufacturer may be at least partly liable for your injury.
- Locate and record the contact information of any witnesses. If your injury does require legal action, this is of vital importance, as eye-witness testimony can make the difference in proving where liability lies.
- Preserve the evidence of your accident. Particularly if your accident occurred because of an equipment failure, this is very important. If you can, retain the equipment that failed and ensure that it is documented.
- File a claim with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) as quickly as possible. One of the reasons that an insurance claim is sometimes rejected is that the injured party took too long to file it. By filing as soon as possible, you strengthen your claim to compensation and your case if it is denied or escalates to a lawsuit.
- Document the impact of your injury on your day-to-day life, including any additional expenses you or your family has incurred due to your recovery.
Gathering the information you need, as well as doing what you need to after the accident, are vital steps in streamlining the compensation process. This will enable a lawyer to better understand your personal injury and your needs, where the liability lies if a lawsuit needs to be filed, and allowing you to get the compensation you need for your recovery.